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      Breast Cancer Medications and Vision: Effects of Treatments for Early-stage Disease

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          This review concerns the effects on vision and the eye of medications prescribed at three phases of treatment for women with early-stage breast cancer (BC): (1) adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy, (2) adjuvant endocrine therapy, and (3) symptomatic relief. The most common side effects of cytotoxic chemotherapy are epiphora and ocular surface irritation, which can be caused by any of several different regimens. Most notably, the taxane docetaxel can lead to epiphora by inducing canalicular stenosis. The selective-estrogen-receptor-modulator (SERM) tamoxifen, long the gold-standard adjuvant-endocrine-therapy for women with hormone-receptor-positive BC, increases the risk of posterior subcapsular cataract. Tamoxifen also affects the optic nerve head more often than previously thought, apparently by causing subclinical swelling within the first 2 years of use for women older than ∼50 years. Tamoxifen retinopathy is rare, but it can cause foveal cystoid spaces that are revealed with spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) and that may increase the risk for macular holes. Tamoxifen often alters the perceived color of flashed lights detected via short-wavelength-sensitive (SWS) cone response isolated psychophysically; these altered perceptions may reflect a neural-response sluggishness that becomes evident at ∼2 years of use. The aromatase inhibitor (AI) anastrozole affects perception similarly, but in an age-dependent manner suggesting that the change of estrogen activity towards lower levels is more important than the low estrogen activity itself. Based on analysis of OCT retinal thickness data, it is likely that anastrozole increases the tractional force between the vitreous and retina. Consequently, AI users, myopic AI users particularly, might be at increased risk for traction-related vision loss. Because bisphosphonates are sometimes prescribed to redress AI-induced bone loss, clinicians should be aware of their potential to cause scleritis and uveitis occasionally. We conclude by suggesting some avenues for future research into the visual and ocular effects of AIs, particularly as relates to assessment of cognitive function.

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          5-fluorouracil: mechanisms of action and clinical strategies.

          5-fluorouracil (5-FU) is widely used in the treatment of cancer. Over the past 20 years, increased understanding of the mechanism of action of 5-FU has led to the development of strategies that increase its anticancer activity. Despite these advances, drug resistance remains a significant limitation to the clinical use of 5-FU. Emerging technologies, such as DNA microarray profiling, have the potential to identify novel genes that are involved in mediating resistance to 5-FU. Such target genes might prove to be therapeutically valuable as new targets for chemotherapy, or as predictive biomarkers of response to 5-FU-based chemotherapy.
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            Reliability and validity of the Ocular Surface Disease Index.

            To evaluate the validity and reliability of the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire. Participants (109 patients with dry eye and 30 normal controls) completed the OSDI, the National Eye Institute Visual Functioning Questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25), the McMonnies Dry Eye Questionnaire, the Short Form-12 (SF-12) Health Status Questionnaire, and an ophthalmic examination including Schirmer tests, tear breakup time, and fluorescein and lissamine green staining. Factor analysis identified 3 subscales of the OSDI: vision-related function, ocular symptoms, and environmental triggers. Reliability (measured by Cronbach alpha) ranged from good to excellent for the overall instrument and each subscale, and test-retest reliability was good to excellent. The OSDI was valid, effectively discriminating between normal, mild to moderate, and severe dry eye disease as defined by both physician's assessment and a composite disease severity score. The OSDI also correlated significantly with the McMonnies questionnaire, the National Eye Institute Visual Functioning Questionnaire, the physical component summary score of the Short Form-12, patient perception of symptoms, and artificial tear usage. The OSDI is a valid and reliable instrument for measuring the severity of dry eye disease, and it possesses the necessary psychometric properties to be used as an end point in clinical trials.
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              A critical evaluation of the mechanisms of action proposed for the antitumor effects of the anthracycline antibiotics adriamycin and daunorubicin.

              The mechanisms responsible for the antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects of the anthracycline antibiotics doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and daunorubicin (daunomycin) have been the subject of considerable controversy. This commentary addresses the potential role of DNA synthesis inhibition, free radical formation and lipid peroxidation, DNA binding and alkylation, DNA cross-linking, interference with DNA strand separation and helicase activity, direct membrane effects, and the initiation of DNA damage via the inhibition of topoisomerase II in the interaction of these drugs with the tumor cell. One premise underlying this analysis is that only studies utilizing drug concentrations that reflect the plasma levels in the patient after either bolus administration or continuous infusion are considered to reflect the basis for drug action in the clinic. The role of free radicals in anthracycline cardiotoxicity is also discussed.

                Author and article information

                Curr Eye Res
                Current Eye Research
                Informa Healthcare
                October 2011
                05 August 2011
                : 36
                : 10
                : 867-885
                [1 ]Women's Health Research Unit, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
                [2 ]Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
                [3 ]Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, Oregon, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Alvin Eisner, PhD, Women's Health Research Unit, mail code UHN70, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA. Tel: +1-971-400-9855. E-mail: aeisnerphd@
                © 2011 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Supplemental Terms and Conditions for iOpenAccess articles published in Informa Healthcare journals , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Vision sciences

                retina, tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitor, estrogen, dry eye, short-wavelength-sensitive cones


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